Media Release

Rocky View teachers authorize taking of a strike vote

Teachers employed by the Rocky View School Division have voted 99.6 per cent in favour of authorizing the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) to request a government-supervised strike vote.

This action followed the rejection of a proposal by a third-party mediator to settle local negotiations in Rocky View. Teachers who gathered at the meeting held Sunday evening voted 98 per cent in opposition to the mediator’s recommendations.

“Teachers at Sunday’s meeting voted to send a clear message: this settlement package is completely unacceptable and Rocky View trustees must return to the table with an intent to bargain and to improve the settlement offer.”

—Amrit Rai Nannan, president of Rocky View Local No 35

School board negotiators have previously told the ATA that the trustees were done negotiating and that they would not be returning to the table if the mediator’s terms were turned down. Teachers at the meeting were upset by the take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum issued by the board’s position.

Rai Nannan said teachers are feeling disrespected and devalued by their employer. Outstanding issues include working conditions for online teachers, compensation for school administrators and recognition for long service.

The road ahead is challenging. The school board bargaining team will need to return to the table and be prepared to listen to the concerns of teachers, or the mediator will need to write out of the dispute kicking off a two-week cooling off period. After the cooling off period, the ATA would be able to hold a strike vote with teachers in Rocky View School Division.

“Teachers are being left with no options. We are feeling extremely disrespected, and we are not prepared to take an inferior offer just because the board refuses to listen to teacher concerns. The board is telling us to settle for an inadequate agreement or go on strike, but we refuse to be coerced.”

—Amrit Rai Nannan, president of Rocky View Local No 35

Collective bargaining for teachers in Alberta is a two-phase process where matters of significant cost and broad impact have already been negotiated at a central table. Central bargaining is followed by local negotiations between individual school divisions and ATA bargaining units on other, more locally specific, matters. Forty-four of 61 school divisions have already concluded local bargaining for this round, whereas teachers in Rocky View have been working without a finalised collective agreement since September of 2020.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association is the professional association of teachers in Alberta and acts as the bargaining agent for all teachers employed in public, separate and francophone school divisions. The Rocky View School Division employs approximately 1,700 contracted and substitute teachers in public schools in Airdrie, Chestermere, Cochrane, Crossfield, Springbank and surrounding areas.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Amrit Rai Nannan, contact ATA Media Relations Officer Mark Milne at 780-905-0014.